The strategic multi-year collaboration brings together complementary teams at Heptares and Imperial College London seeking to rapidly advance drug discovery and translational research focused on multiple new and existing G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) disease target opportunities associated with the gastro-intestinal (GI) tract.
Gastrointestinal disease is the third most common cause of death. The GI tract represents the largest endocrine organ in the body producing multiple hormones that act on a diverse range of GPRCs located within the GI tract and throughout the body, many of which have been implicated in the pathophysiology of multiple GI diseases.
This collaboration aims to leverage the significant recent progress made in understanding how GPCRs in the GI tract can be modulated and will support the application of Heptares structure-based approaches to develop novel treatments for GI disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease.
Malcolm Weir, Chief R&D Officer of Sosei and Heptares, said: “Collaboration with world-class academic research groups is integral to our long-term drug discovery strategy. These groups provide the fundamental science and biological insights to the role of GPCRs in human disease to which Heptares can apply its world-leading GPCR-targeted drug discovery and translational medicine capabilities to generate new drug candidate molecules for advancement through our pipeline.”
“This collaboration with Imperial College London builds on existing GPCR programmes implicated in immune disorders and GI function and we are excited by the potential it offers to support the identification and translation of new therapies for patients with GI diseases.”
Professor Jonathan Weber, Acting Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College London, said: “We hope this new partnership between Imperial and industry researchers will bring great benefits to science and public health. Breakthroughs in this field could ultimately help to the improve quality of life for patients living with inflammatory bowel disease, which affects more than half a million people in the UK alone.”
Professor Gary Frost, Chair in Nutrition and Dietetics and head of the Nutrition and Food Network at Imperial College London, said: “This research will build on the growing body of knowledge around these key membrane receptors in the gut, investigating their potential in therapeutic interventions. We hope this new collaboration with Heptares will enable us to uncover new drug-gable targets and develop new treatments which could have far-reaching impact for patients with GI conditions.”
Under the collaboration, Heptares will fund and support various programmes of work in terms of target discovery and validation and will be responsible for the progression and commercialisation of any compounds resulting from the collaboration. The collaboration will also support ongoing discovery and development programmes at Sosei/Heptares.